April 21, 2011 - 12:00am

Visiting Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said Thursday his reconciliation plan with Hamas has won support from French President Nicolas Sarkozy during their meeting at the Elysee Palace.

Abbas said he told Sarkozy he would go to the Gaza Strip to meet Hamas leaders in a bid to establish a coalition government and choose a proper date for elections. The plans were backed by the French leader, he said.

In March, Abbas had said he was willing to accept Hamas leader Ismail Haneya's invitation to visit Gaza.

Abbas, the leader of Palestinian National Authority which is at odds with Hamas, has not visited Gaza since Hamas occupied the strip by force in 2007.

Prior to the Abbas-Sarkozy meeting, the French Foreign Ministry said Wednesday France believed Palestinians "have never been better prepared" to establish an independent state.


American Task Force on Palestine - 1634 Eye St. NW, Suite 725, Washington DC 20006 - Telephone: 202-262-0017